Anjana Taank, owner of Taank Optometrists, which won Practice of the Year at the AOP Awards 2017, on the importance of the team – and cake

Taank Optometrists team at the AOP Awards 2017

You’re an optometrist-come-practice-owner. How did you find making that transition to boss? 

There’s definitely a steep learning curve at first with new challenges and unfamiliar territory. A good way to navigate this tricky time is to remain steadfast to your values – what you want your business to represent and how best to look after your patients. I would also recommend having a clearly defined strategy. That way, it’s much easier for you to address each issue as it comes up and be confident that you’re staying on the right path. 

Can you describe your practice team in three words?

Creative, vibrant and friendly.

What does a good team look like to you? 

One that’s united. Where everyone shares the same mindset and can pick up seamlessly from each other to the benefit of the patient. When you follow good, solid processes and move in the same direction, the unit can be led as a whole. This is the key to building an excellent team where everyone grows together and understands how they each contribute to success. 

"A team that plays together, stays together in my opinion, which is why we're serious about having fun"

Do you have any initiatives in place to ensure a happy team? 

Cake, cake and more cake. 

How do you encourage good team work? 

It’s essential to have clearly defined roles so that individuals know their responsibilities inside out. This also means that we all know the best person to speak to when we need to know something in particular. This is a good foundation for a well run and supportive team that’s easy to develop as the practice evolves. 

How do you reward your team? 

A team that plays together, stays together, in my opinion, which is why we’re serious about having fun. Our bond and sense of community is part of Taank’s personality, so we often go out for dinner. During the day the practice is very busy, so being sociable outside of work gives us the perfect chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company. 

Why is it important to recognise and reward staff individually and as a team? 

There are regularly times when a member of staff excels or goes out of their way to give a patient outstanding service – this is what Taank is all about. Therefore it’s important to recognise this and reward them accordingly. However, in our industry, the whole team is involved in the patient journey in different ways, which is why the group receives recognition for any accolades.